Cross-posted from the White House blog.
Today, the President announced several important new initiatives to continue strengthening the rural economy and to create jobs in rural areas.
As part of the White House Rural Council’s efforts to improve federal government coordination on rural economic development, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have been focused on rural small business growth. And for good reason: Half the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new private sector jobs are created by small businesses.
Many of these small businesses are in rural areas and we are making sure that they have the tools they need to grow, create jobs and drive the economy.
Today, the President announced a series of initiatives that leverage existing programs and funding to help small businesses and to meet other critical needs in rural communities. This included:
- Committing up to $350 million in SBA growth capital to investors in rural small businesses over the next 5 years
- Launching a series of events to connect private equity and venture capital investors with rural start ups
- Creating teams to link federal funding opportunities with private investors interested in making rural investments
- Making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide
- Making HHS loans available to help more than 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals recruit additional staff
- Helping rural hospitals purchase software and hardware to implement health IT
You can learn more about the announcement here.
We know that rural economies are very diverse and the needs of businesses and families in those communities vary widely. From farms to hospitals… from Main Street shops to high-growth businesses… and more… the Administration’s efforts today show a strong commitment to ensuring that America’s rural communities continue to grow and create jobs.
Take a look at the Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America report the White House released last week. It chronicles the Obama administration’s unprecedented investments in rural America, as well as some of the opportunities for growth in these communities.
Our commitment at USDA, at SBA and across the Administration will only get stronger as we work to help rural economies grow and prosper. Because when rural America thrives, the rest of the country does as well.
Tom Vilsack is Secretary of Agriculture and Karen Mills is Administrator of the Small Business Administration